Road casualty Fox

Road casualty fox
Road casualty fox

Date & time: 17th February 2014, 02:23hrs
Casualty first found: 17th Febraury 2014 01:50hr
Species and incident: Road Casualty Fox
Location of rescue: Brighton, East Sussex
Rescuers: Trevor & Kathy

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Initial phone call

A Caller reported a fox lying at the side of the road close to her house in Brighton. She had picked up the fox and placed it on the floor of her kitchen and was almost bitten in the process. The caller was asked if she could see any visible obvious signs of injury, which she couldn't. The fox was described as lying down, unable to stand or move, but had lifted its head. The caller was advised not to touch the fox any further but to cover with a towel or blanket, to turn the lights off in the kitchen and close the door. She was also asked to keep noise to a minimum and keep her cats locked away in a different room too. The caller was then asked to contact a closer organisation based in Brighton as they were closer and to ring back if they were unable to respond. The lady had already tried the RSPCA who were not close by. The lady called back advising that she had been unable to make contact with the more local organisation so WRAS agreed to attend.

Map of the area
Map of the area

Rescue notes

On site the fox was lying on his left side on the floor of the callers kitchen. The rear leg was touched to check the fox's reactions, but the fox did not respond. Kneeling at the back of the fox a rescuer then placed a gloved hand on the foxes neck for security but there was very little movement. You could clearly see the fox was breathing with the rising and falling of the chest and there was no obvious signs of respiratory distress. The fox's mouth was slightly open the gum colour looked pale. The fox's reactions were low enough to check the CRT which was over 4 seconds and the gums felt dry and cool. It was decided to place a muzzle on the fox as a safety precaution as the fox had previously attempted to bite the caller. The fox was then examined. It was noted that the fox's eyes were blinking but partially closed and the eye lids were swollen and blood was present.

The fox was placed in a cage and carried out to the ambulance.
The fox was placed in a cage and carried out to the ambulance.

The ears were checked and there was no sign of any discharges from the ears. Gently a rescuer ran his hand down the spine to feel for any obvious spinal damage, none was found. Both rear legs were pinched and both legs reacted. The edge of the anus was touched to check for an anal reflex too which was also present. Satisfied that there was unlikely to be paralysis, the fox was then moved to a more upright position to reduce pressure on the heart.

A rescuer then gently ran his spare hand across the fox's chest, ribs and abdomen checking his gloves for blood in case of any hidden injuries as well as checking for any other obvious signs of rib damage or unusual swellings. Nothing was found. The front legs were then examined and no obvious injures or fractures were found and the fox responded with the legs being pinched. On checking the rear legs for injuries, crepitus was felt in the femur on the right hind leg but quite high up. The fracture was too high in the leg to be immobilised.

The fox was then carefully lifted and turned over to check for any hidden wounds, none were found. The fox was lifted using the towel the fox was already on and placed into a fox cage, and carried out to the ambulance.

Rescue triage

The fox was clearly in shock, and the trauma around the eyes indicated possible head trauma, but did not appear to have any other life threatening injuries. It was decided to contact the nearest emergency out of hours vets for direction and agreed to take the fox straight to them for a full veterinary assessment.

Veterinary visit & report

At the vets the fox was examined by one of the veterinary surgeons and he confirmed that there was a closed fracture to the femur. The vet expressed concern at the amount of movement and that in his opinion that pinning would be problematic and there was too high a chance of the pin migrating as well as further complications and felt that amputation would be the only option available. The vet examined the fox's head trauma, the left eye was in tact and seemed ok, although there was soft tissue swelling around the eye and haemorrhaging around the eye too. The right eye was shut and significantly more swollen the eye was present but appeared to be damaged. On further assessment the vet felt the fox had lost the sight in that eye and it was unlikely to recover vision.

Veterinary conclusion and outcome

The vet concluded that the fox would need both the right eye removing and the rear right leg amputating. It was agreed that this would be too much for the fox to cope with, and make rehabilitation and release back to the wild impossible. To keep such a casualty in captivity in such a condition would not be in the fox's best interest. The rescue team and the vets discussed the situation and everyone was in agreement that the fox should be prevented from further suffering and euthanised.

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